Mountain gazelle facts for kids

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Mountain gazelle
Mountain gazelle (male)
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Bovidae
Subfamily: Antilopinae
Genus: Gazella
Binomial name
Gazella gazella
(Pallas, 1766)

The mountain gazelle (Gazella gazella) is a species of gazelle. It lives in many parts of Egypt, Palestine, Turkey and across the Arabian Peninsula. It lives in mountains, foothills, and coastal plains. It is the National animal of Palestine.

Physical Description

Mountain gazelles are one of the few mammals in which both sexes have horns. Males have significantly larger horns with rings around them. Females will also have horns, but they will be thinner and shorter. Along with the horns, mountain gazelles are sexually dimorphic, meaning that males are larger than females. A wild male can range from 17-29.5 kg, while females are 16–25 kg in weight. Mountain gazelles can reach running speeds up to 80 km/h (50 mph).

Population and Range

Mountain gazelles are most abundant in Israel, but are found in parts of Jordan, Turkey . While there are not accurate estimates of the number of individuals in the wild, Israel estimated there to be only 3,100 endangered gazelles in their country. Less than 3,000 mountain gazelles are left within their natural range.

Habitat

Gazelles have adapted to live in dry, desert-like conditions. They spend most of their time at the top of mountains and hills Living in an annual average temperature of 21-23 °C, gazelles prefer to bed on the tops of the hills/mountains to avoid the heat during the day. Around dawn and dusk, these mammals will be found traversing the hills to eat in light forests, fields, or desert plateaus. It is less well adapted to hot, dry conditions than the Dorcas gazelle, which appears to have replaced the mountain gazelle through some of its range during the late Holocene in a period of climatic warming.

Ecology

The mountain gazelle is a diurnal species, they are awake during the day and sleep at night. They are also very territorial and with their herds, but typically stay in herds of three to eight individuals. There are three main groups in the mountain gazelle community: maternity herds, bachelor male herds, or territorial solitary males.

Survival and Reproduction

In the wild, mountain gazelles rarely survive past the age of eight but can live up to 15 years in captivity when taken care of. By 12 months, a female gazelle can begin breeding. For males, 18 months is when they will start breeding. Being polygamous, not spending their lives with one other individual, mountain gazelles' typical breeding season is during the early winter months. Females will give birth to one offspring per year mostly between the months of April and May. A few days prior to giving birth the mother will leave her herd and live in solitary. For up to two months, the mother and her offspring will stay by themselves while the mother watches out for predators. Common predators include foxes, jackals, and wolves that will try to attack the fawn. While young males will stay with their mother for only six months before departing to a herd of young males, young females will sometimes join their mother with a herd.

Food

Its range coincides closely with that of the acacia trees that grow in these areas. It is mainly a grazing species, though this varies with food availability. They can survive for long periods of time without a water source. Instead, they acquire freshwater from succulents and dew droplets from plants.


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